Canadian political history was made as Prime Minister Trudeau was found guilty for the second time in contravening the Conflict of Interest Act.
In the ruling released this week by Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, the guilty verdict related to the actions of Mr. Trudeau in seeking to influence a decision of the Attorney General of Canada in relation to the prosecution of SNC Lavalin.
This situation led to the resignation of Ms.Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal cabinet, before Mr. Trudeau removed her and Ms.Jane Philpott (whom likewise resigned from cabinet due to concerns on the subject) from the Liberal caucus.
The report released this week, known as “Trudeau II” raises some very troubling findings.
The Commissioner found "The Prime Minister, directly and through his senior officials, used various means to exert influence over Ms. Wilson‑Raybould. The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson‑Raybould as the Crown's chief law officer,"
The Commissioner noted that he was denied some of the required information to view “the entire body of evidence” and that some witnesses were also unable to share certain information because of these same restrictions.
Ultimately his conclusion was "The evidence showed there were many ways in which Mr. Trudeau, either directly or through the actions of those under his direction, sought to influence the Attorney General."
Since the report was publicly released Mr. Trudeau stated that he “takes responsibility for the mistakes that I made” yet at the same time he has also stated that he disagrees with some of the Commissioners findings.
Having now read the Commissioners report in full I also have a few thoughts.
When this SNC Lavalin situation was first reported in the Globe & Mail, Mr. Trudeau told reporters “The allegations in the Globe story this morning are false,”
Later at a March 7,2019 news conference Mr. Trudeau stated “In Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s case she did not come to me & I wish she had,”
The challenge with this statement is that the Trudeau II report clearly reveals that on September 17 of 2018 Ms. Wilson-Raybould did meet with Mr. Trudeau and relayed her concerns directly to him.
In other words the comments made by Mr. Trudeau in March of 2019 do not reconcile with the facts of September 17th of 2018 as outlined in the report.
My question this week: What do you think the Prime Minister should do in light of this serious report?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.